This post will be a little different than usual – I want to share a recap of a really great “cooking day” a while back with some friends, including Kirbie’s Cravings and One Gal’s Path. I don’t have any particular recipes to share, but there are a lot of links and photos!
Our main dish of the night was “zong zi” – basically the Chinese version of a tamale: sticky rice with fillings, wrapped inside bamboo leaves, and boiled or steamed until it’s cooked.
I wish that I had gotten better photos of the zong zi-making process, but let’s just say that my hands were tied, hehe. The recipe we followed was from The Woks of Life, except we didn’t pre-cook the pork belly slices, and we also steamed the zong zi instead of boiled them.
However, it turns out that we should have boiled them instead (or we didn’t steam them long enough), because the rice turned out a bit tough. (I later boiled the leftover ones that we brought home, and the texture was much better.) The flavor was spot-on, though – it really reminded me of the zong zi that I had growing up. It’s funny how food ties to so many memories.
Kirbie had prepared gougères (French cheese puffs), which were airy, cheesy, and delicious. I think I could have eaten the whole tray.
The other item that Kirbie prepared were coddled eggs with mashed potatoes, inspired by Eggslut. I loved the creamy and smooth mashed potatoes, and the runny egg yolk added a wonderful richness. The pesto sauce on top gave a nice and bright flavor. You can find her recipe here.
I had prepared some pork chops for sous vide – I seasoned the pork chops with salt and pepper, vacuum sealed them, and cooked them in a 140°F water bath for about two hours. To finish them off, I simply seared them on the stove top until both sides were browned. (140°F is for medium pork chops; if you prefer them medium-rare, use 135°F.) We also threw some of the leftover pork belly from the zong zi in the water bath.
G prepared a wonderful stir-fried eggplant dish. The ingredients are simple: ground pork, eggplants, garlic, green onions, seasoned with sugar, soy sauce, cooking wine, and sriracha. I’ve been meaning to make this dish again at home – the eggplants were super tender and flavorful.
G also made Taiwanese pineapple cakes! The buttery shortbread was accompanied by a sweet and tangy pineapple filling. I can’t quite remember which recipe she followed, but I definitely want to try making these as well!
Finally, I brought banana pudding for dessert (by G’s request). I used the same recipe that I had posted recently – except we had a kitchen torch this time for browning the meringue, so I didn’t have to use the broiler! I loved the torch’s effect and immediately added a kitchen torch to my wish list, hehe.
That’s it for this little recap of an awesome and delicious cooking day with dear friends. S and I have been so busy lately that we rarely eat at home nowadays, and if we do, it’s usually a quick meal that doesn’t require much time and effort. It was great to spend a day dedicated to cooking, and of course, cooking with great people makes it even better!